Over the past few weeks of this term, the College is seeing a routine developing for teaching and learning at home. The College’s Teaching and Learning Model has been very positively received by both students and parents. It is wonderful to see so many students engaging in online learning with teachers who care about their wellbeing and academic progress.
In preparing for this period of reimagined learning and after extensive research into the experience of other schools overseas who transitioned to online learning earlier due to COVID-19, it was decided to base our model on current timetables, processes and procedures. We consider that this has been helpful in providing security and clarity of how each day will continue to be connected and engaging. Therefore, students now join with their teachers and peers in real time via Microsoft Teams (synchronous learning). At other times, students will work independently using the learning resources prepared by their teachers (asynchronous learning).
In deciding on this model of teaching and learning, the College Leadership Team identified that, “research indicates that the nature of online learning is best suited to asynchronous learning with short and regular bursts of synchronous learning facilitated by teachers. It is with this understanding that Brigidine has designed learning and teaching methods to retain a sense of community and belonging in what is potentially a period of isolation and uncertainty”.
This Continuity of Community is provided for students through daily contact with their Home Room teachers and peers, as well as engaging in wellbeing activities to recharge their mind, body and spirit. These Wellbeing moments, in addition to the Learning, provide girls with a chance to reflect, recharge and reconnect through a range of activities such as Fitness/Physical Education classes, Religious Education classes and the Formation Program. The College community has embraced this new way of learning, with many parents and students expressing their gratitude for the support they are receiving. Comments have included:
“Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the many hours of work you have done, and are still doing, to get the online learning up and running. This has been a challenging time for students and teachers and I very much appreciate all that you have done to make it easier for the girls. I am particularly comforted to see that you have taken the time to prioritise the students’ wellbeing.”
“Just a short note to thank and commend you on the online learning offered by Brigidine during the past few weeks – it is amazing, and we are extremely grateful.”
Learning new technology and a new way of teaching is not easy and to do this in these unprecedented times is even admirable. Brigidine College staff and students have enthusiastically supported this adventure and embraced a new way of learning.
To continue with the positive ways in which these Learning at Home initiatives are maintained, parents, students and staff have been sent an email or link to a survey, to provide feedback to the College. Please forward the details by Tuesday 5 May.
Blessing to our community.
Brendan Cahill – Principal
Our world – full of both joy and struggles – may seem more challenging than ever before. Is your daughter feeling disappointed about the situation in our wider community? Is she feeling disappointed about not being able to attend school? Dr Michael Carr-Gregg gives excellent advice for both adults and children about dealing with disappointment in a short video. We encourage Brigidine students to have faith in themselves and strive to reach their goals. Life will contain setbacks, but if we work hard and are self-aware, we can overcome them and alleviate disappointment. In Week 1, all students participated in an online behaviours Formation lesson and made a commitment to meeting expectations. This term, students will continue to learn in Formation classes as outlined below:
Year 7: The Online World – Ben Wilson, Program Leader Year 7 Formation
Year 7 students will be learning about the Online World in Term 2. This is very fitting in the current climate while learning is being conducted online at home. In Week 1, the lesson assisted with the transition to online learning. For the rest of the term, students will learn more about online etiquette and behaviour with a focus on positive relationships. They will also learn about issues concerning online privacy.
Year 8: Relationships and Identity – Allison Power, Program Leader Year 8 Formation
Year 8 students will be engaging in lessons about ‘emotional intelligence’ – specifically, recognising emotions and understanding how they are influenced by thoughts. Students will learn strategies for challenging negative self-talk in order to curb unhelpful emotions. They will also explore the changing nature of their relationship with parents/guardians during adolescence and identify skills for navigating conflicts that may arise. Finally, students will critically evaluate and challenge the ‘appearance ideals’ presented in the media. They will explore the truth about how appearance is manipulated and how comparing themselves to these unrealistic ideals can impact self-worth. It is hoped that each student will make a commitment to push back against external pressures and believe that “#IamEnough”.
Year 9: Character – Tamara Haydock, Acting Program Leader Year 9 Formation
In Term 2 Formation students will be completing a variety of activities related to character development. The unit is designed to challenge students and build on their character strengths. Each week students will be provided with a range of activities that will help build character and support the wellbeing of students and families. The activities also allow friends and families to connect, grow and explore character development together.
Year 10: Careers – Shannon Metzeling, Acting Program Leader Year 10 Formation
The Baby Boomers had the audio cassette, Generation X rocked the Walkman, Generation Y updated to the iPod, while Generation Z went online with Spotify. In the same way our music devices have evolved, the working world for Generation Z will look very different to the workforce of today and tomorrow. Analysts suggest that 65% of children entering school today will end up working in jobs that currently do not exist. Therefore, this term, Year 10 Formation will explore a range of industries, career options, and will work towards identifying potential future careers. Additionally, we will also look at the senior schooling subjects available in Years 11 and 12, with relevance to the prerequisites for careers students wish to pursue.
Year 11: Self-Awareness & Student Agency – Lisa Kelly-Crawford, Acting Program Leader Year 11 Formation
Year 11 Formation in Term 2 develops students’ self-awareness and student agency in their journey to becoming the College leaders of 2021. Through engaging with various activities each week, students will develop self-awareness with a specific focus on identifying their own strengths and values. In turn, they will learn to embrace their authentic self and become known as an individual within the Year 11 cohort.
Through exploring Student Agency, students come to understand that as a student their voice:
- can be heard
- can share ideas
- can challenge
- can change their environment
- can be meaningful
- can be a way to display leadership
Students explore servant leadership and what it means to be a leader at Brigidine. They will also begin the process of applying for leadership roles in 2021.
Year 12: Beyond School – Chelsea Muscat, Acting Program Leader Year 12 Formation
Throughout the Year 12 Formation Program students have been invited to contribute their suggestions of topics they would like more information about. In Term 2 students will be exploring a range of topics to prepare them both for the remainder of the year and life beyond school. This unit in conjunction with the Term 3 unit is designed to develop key aspects of students’ understanding of themselves, and the world beyond school. It is aimed to open their world view including work and study options post Year 12 and some of the skills needed to be proactive, positive women of the future who take pride in themselves. Within this unit students will be exploring options for study and work after Year 12, what this looks like whilst also exploring the concepts of gratitude, vulnerability and self-awareness.
English Education in an Online Space
It’s been heartening to see ongoing connection between English teachers and students as we’ve transitioned into the remote learning space. There’s been some creative problems solving, and a collaborative approach, aiming for high student engagement. English teachers have been thrilled by the support and encouragement students are giving each other and their teachers.
Parents can find some interesting resources in SEQTA. Year 7s have access to some excellent YouTube clips that provide insights into Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’ and visual literacy. Year 8s are being encouraged to record themselves performing a poem of their choice as they begin a focus on Australian poetry. Year 9 are sharing their favourite advertisements for discussion as part of a unit on Advertising. Year 10 are learning about life in the late 60s to better understand the context of ‘Jasper Jones’ – an award winning novel that we’ve found students love. Year 11 are working on their narrative writing skills before moving into a study of Indigenous poetry for their FA3 task. Year 12 are honing their analytical skills by studying Canonical poetry before starting Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. Year 11 Essential English are studying the film ‘Lion’ and Year 12 Essential English are undertaking an analysis of Australian values – which is topical in our current circumstances when comparisons between nations seems inevitable. Year 11 Literature have been comparing the significance of Brisbane as a setting in literary texts. And shortly they will begin a study of Dark Romantic and Gothic Literature. Year 12 Literature have been working in small online groups to analyse the film ‘Run Lola Run’. We frequently consider the human condition in our study of text in English and it could be argued that we’ve never needed Literature more than we do now, to help us make sense of our world.
Please enjoy this video of students reciting My Country: Click here.
Term 1 saw some exciting developments for the College’s Excellence Program, Compass. The first Compass Class of Excellence – Year 7 – is up and running, consisting of 28 keen high potential learners. Students have been getting to know each other whilst working on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills under the guidance of Mrs Shelly Alonso and Mrs Niesha Hart. As the year progresses, we look forward to more project based problem-solving work.
7C is also participating in the University of Queensland Sunflower Competition. With plans to plant at school put on hold, students have been taking care of seedlings at home.
The excellence program has also seen an extension to the Future Problem-Solving Program with a total of five teams across Years 7 to 11. Students are working to solve complex future problems from the role of virtual reality in international travel, sleep patterns, gamification and living in poverty. The successful feedback from the first round of problem solving puts our teams in a competitive position for round two of this international competition.
Sport at Home
The prospect of having to exercise when you are restricted from attending training, I will admit was a daunting task at the start. I believe that the introduction of the 60 Day Sport Challenge open to all students has been a great success in getting them back on their feet. It has been particularly successful on the three afternoons during the school week, after a long day of sitting on a desk chair. The 60 Day Sport Challenge encourages participants to get active during these more difficult times that we are currently living in. Students can participate in weekly workouts, follow recipes from the F45 app, as well as watch inspirational sporting videos from famous Australian and international female athletes.
With the many activities each day, whether it be interacting with one another, or completing individual tasks, those involved have really shown their enthusiasm and optimism during this challenge. Students are loving the challenges each day. Additionally, the Cross Country or Walk/Run challenge is another fun way of trying to keep up the Cross Country spirit. A weekly 3km challenge for 3 weeks allows students to walk or run using the Strava app to record their time. A screenshot of this information is sent to the Sports Department, recorded in the weekly leader board managed by Ms Cuthbert, and is available to be used as friendly competition with other students. The aim of the two challenges is to improve times each week and provide a fun and competitive challenge against fellow Brigidine students.
This has been a very strange term in the history of our College. We have started the term without our students being physically here. During this isolation our concern and prayers are with you, our parents, as you make your way through these difficult times with your families, learning from home and difficult working conditions. As teachers we also have prepared well with how to teach our students online. This is a new experience for us all. We are grateful to our IT support team for their continued engagements and support for our students and staff. They have played a very important role.
We received feedback from parents and students which we have outlined below.
- Thank you for making the online platform easily accessible. Thank you for teaching students every day. Thank you for offering assistance when needed. Thank you for all your updated communications and emails. Thank you for being in my daughter’s life. I am truly appreciative of Brigidine College.
- Students couldn’t have transitioned so easily into ‘school at home’ had Brigidine not put everything so carefully and methodically into place.
- I guess in these difficult times I want you to know you make such a difference to your students lives, and I am grateful for the difference you have made to my precious girl.
- The organisation has been wonderful and the communications positive, hopeful, reassuring and consistent. There have been no technical hitches whatsoever and the teachers have been amazing in engaging the girls and keeping them working. Both girls are enjoying the social aspects of Formation and Home Room. It’s a great balance.
- Dear Mrs Hodges, I just wanted to say, as I didn’t get a chance in our video chats, that as a new English teacher at Brigidine, you’re doing a great job. I can tell so many students in 8B, including me, find you kind, approachable and funny. You are such a down to earth person and you are easy to understand in class. I understand the stress and awkwardness of showing your face in a chat and not knowing what other people look like or what they’re thinking. So I just wanted to say you’re doing an amazing job, and are a kind face to see around the college and on call.
We hope the situation will change soon and looking forward to seeing you online and in person in the future! Meanwhile we do the best we can!
Fr Pan and Andrew Beiers
To view one of Fr Pan’s favourite hymns at the moment, please click here.
Prayer in COVID Times
In our difficult times, be our companion;
in our struggle, be our strength
In this time of affliction, be our healer;
When we are afraid, be our courage;
We ask you to bless and protect all our students, staff and families
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord
The Lord be with you
And with your spirit
May almighty God Bless you!